Blindness Briefs – Edition 56


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What's Inside

  • Solving the data visualization problem for blind people.
  • CNIB spends 52 cents per dollar it receives on fundraising.
  • Nigerian blind face "book famine" due to obsolete copyright laws.
  • Japanese man becomes world's first deaf-blind professor.
  • Wife assaults blind husband over basketball game.
  • New York's first legal marijuana shop sued over web accessibility.
  • Brooklyn deaf-blind man communicates through sculpture.
  • French blind people driving race cars.
  • And, about 45 more articles about blindness and blind people from the entire world.

Editorial By Chris Hofstader

Welcome to edition 56 of Blindness Briefs, the most comprehensive news source about blind people and blindness in the English speaking world. As in all editions of Blindness Briefs, this edition has articles covering all areas of blindness from mainstream media from around the world and I'm certain you'll find a lot of interesting things to read this week.

This edition is interesting in that we've two stories about deaf-blind people, a condition far less often covered than blindness on its own. The first is about a deaf-blind person in Japan who has become the first deaf-blind person in the world to become a professor. I hope to learn more about this man in the future as communicating with his students must require some rather creative solutions. The second is about a deaf-blind sculptor who learned his craft at the Helen Keller Institute and I always find artists doing cool work to be very interesting. I know some remarkable deaf-blind people and am happy to hear more about them in the mainstream news.

I hope you enjoy this edition of Blindness Briefs.

How It's Organized

WBH Weekly Blind News Digest is a very simple page to read. The categories are at heading level 2 and the stories are links at heading level 3. So, navigation to the sections and stories you find interesting is quite simple.


Clovernook Center program brings braille sto­ry­books, smiles to visually impaired kids in East Africa

Samuel Foulkes traveled to Africa last year on a mission to help improve literacy rates among blind or visually impaired young people in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania.
Foulkes was there representing Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Cincinnati. This story comes to us from: spectrumnews1.


Blind news audiences are being left behind in the data visualisation revolution: here's how we fix that

But a 2021 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) research project found that this chart was of no use to millions of blind people. This story comes to us from: Reuters Institute – University of Oxford.

This discreet device helps blind people read voice memos with their fingertips

There is a veritable wealth of technology available at our fingertips, from smartphones to hands-free voice assistants to AI that can create convincing (or deceptive) works of art. Amazing as they might be, not everyone is able to utilize these technologies that make human life more convenient, especially when it comes to things that you need to see to be able to use. Visually impaired people are among those disenfranchised by many of these common technologies and devices, and they actually make up a large part of today’s population. Even something as simple as taking notes for recalling later can be a frustrating process despite modern technology, but this simple-looking device concept attempts to put those technologies to work in a very inconspicuous way. This story comes to us from: Yanko Design.

Smart' walking stick could help visually impaired with groceries, finding a seat

For people who are blind or visually impaired, finding the right products in a crowded grocery store can be difficult without help. This story comes to us from: Boulder Today.

The 4 Best Ubuntu Accessibility Features for the Visually Impaired

Ubuntu is one of the most widely used Linux distros and is ideal for both beginners and experienced users. Ubuntu Desktop is also packed with lots of accessibility features to make it usable to as many people as possible. Computers are an essential part of society and must be accessible to everyone. Here are some of the best accessibility features in Ubuntu for people with visual impairments, such as low vision or blindness. This story comes to us from: MakeUseOf.

OneButtonPIN increases security for blind and low-vision tech users

Working closely with blind and low-vision (BLV) users, researchers at the University of Waterloo and the Rochester Institute of Technology have developed a new authentication method that could help BLV technology users more securely access their devices. The new method, OneButtonPIN, allows users to input PIN codes using a single large button and a series of haptic vibrations. This story comes to us from: eurekalert.

Blindness Organizations

For every dollar donated to CNIB's 'urgent' guide dog campaign, it spends 52 cents on fundraising

The Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) began its 'urgent appeal' for donations in late 2020. A charity watchdog says CNIB spends more than half of each dollar raised on fundraising costs, and that its spending on programming is below what's reasonable for Canadian non-profits. This story comes to us from: CBC.

Greenville Chapter – National Federation of Blind

Creating opportunities for people with differing abilities, that is what is happening at the Upcountry History Museum for the National Federation of the Blind. We are joined by JW Smith and Gwen Ellenburg to tell us more about this event. This story comes to us from: YouTube.

Bukit Tinggi Medical Centre and Rotary Club Klang Central Give Gift Of Sight To Low-Income Community

Cataract continues to be the predominant cause of blindness and contributes to 50 per cent of blindness worldwide.
This story comes to us from: CodeBlue.

Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind brings students opportunities

Students from across the state have made their way back to campus, and they got to enjoy men's and women's basketball games on Wednesday. This story comes to us from: WHSV.

The Sarajevo Library for the Blind and Visually Impaired Persons is about to shut down?

A unique institution in Sarajevo, the Library for the Blind and Visually Impaired has existed for more than 50 years, but in the last two decades it has been going through a difficult period – the reason is funding. At the beginning of the seventies of the last century, the Lending Library of the Association of the Blind of Yugoslavia was decentralised, and the existing book fund was distributed to republican and provincial associations of the blind. Thus, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) received a certain number of books and audio books in Braille. Since then, the Library for the Blind and Visually Impaired has expanded its fund, the number of users has increased, and the institution has gained respect and expanded its influence beyond the borders of the country. This story comes to us from: Sarajevo Times.

Braille services and resources available to support Michiganders who are blind or visually impaired

The Bureau of Services for Blind Persons (BSBP), within the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Employment and Training, facilitates various braille services and resources in the state. The BSBP Training Center, located in Kalamazoo, offers courses on braille that are designed to prepare students with the fundamentals of this reading/writing system, including identifying the braille alphabet, braille numbers, common punctuation and reading comprehension. This story comes to us from: State of Michigan.

QRCS launches eye surgery, anti-blindness convoy in Iraqi Kurdistan

Qatar Red Crescent Society (QRCS) has launched an eye disease treatment and anti-blindness medical convoy at camps of displaced Iraqis and Syrian refugees in Iraqi Kurdistan.
The $196,632 project is carried out in cooperation with the Iraqi Red Crescent Society (IRCS), Barzani Charity Foundation (BCF), and the Health Department of Erbil. This story comes to us from: ReliefWeb.

Austin startup helps people with visual impairments find jobs

Despite being able to work a wide variety of jobs, people who are blind or visually impaired tend to have low job placement rates, according to data from the Journal of Blindness Innovation and Research. The journal found 76% of people who are blind are unemployed. This story comes to us from: KXAN.


Book Famine: How policies in Nigeria limit visually impaired persons' access to books

Extant copyright laws in Nigeria prohibit the conversion of books to readable formats for visually impaired persons. This has resulted in limited access to books for people who are visually impaired and who live with print disabilities, resulting in a situation tagged “Book Famine” This story comes to us from: Premium Times Nigeria.

Online Catalog for the CT Library for Accessible Books

Patrons of the CT Library for Accessible Books (CT LAB) have access to library materials found in the National Library Service for the Blind’s (NLS) online catalog. The are several help pages for the NLS catalog available to patrons. CT LAB Reader’s Advisers can also assist patrons with searching for materials in the NLS collection. To connect with an CT LAB Reader’s Adviser, patrons may call 860-704-2202 or 800-842-4516 or contact CT LAB via email at [email protected]. This story comes to us from: Connecticut State Library.

TV series Make48 brings inventor competition to the Kansas State School for the Blind

Students at The Kansas State School for the Blind in Kansas City, Kansas, participated in the public television competition Make48, where teams have just two days to prototype, build and present their invention. On the public television series Make48, contestants have exactly two days to plan, build and pitch a brand new invention. This story comes to us from: KCUR.

Blind Whiteland student addresses Ivy Tech board

A Whiteland Community High School (WCHS) senior, Bryn Laster, was recently asked to speak to the Board of Trustees at Ivy Tech Community College about her experience in the school’s Dual Credit program. Clark-Pleasant Community School Corporation communications director Rick Hightower says Laster has earned enough credits to have her first 20 months of college already completed while still in high school. The majority of these credits are through Dual Credit Agriculture courses at WCHS. In addition, Bryn has also earned an industry certification in Animal Agribusiness. What makes this even more incredible is that Bryn Laster is legally blind. This story comes to us from: Local News Digital.


Communication and Connection: Fukushima Satoshi, the World's First Deafblind Professor

In 1983, he gained entry to Tokyo Metropolitan University, becoming the first deafblind person in Japan to study at the university level. This story comes to us from:

First-ever blind Catholic priest in Kenya is ordained

The ordination of the first-ever blind Catholic priest in Kenya will help show people that "disability is not inability. This story comes to us from: Catholic News Agency.

BLIND FAITH…Bulawayo woman gives hope to the visually impaired

UTILISING the sense of touch, visually impaired youths sit confidently, exchanging playful banter while weaving baskets on desks neatly lined up facing large industrial windows. The products of their skills and creativity in the form of beautifully hand-made cane baskets are on display. They use traditional weaving techniques to create intricately patterned baskets of different shapes and designs. Their instructor, Annaliniah Nkomo (52) moves around the small room in a wheelchair monitoring their work. She is using her basket-weaving talent to help equip people with disabilities. This story comes to us from: The Chronicle.

'It's like seeing every single muscle': Center Valley massage therapist builds new career

For Manny Hernandez, who lost his vision more than two decades ago from retinal detachment, his new career as a massage therapist is an opportunity to see once again, but in a new way. “By touching you, it’s like seeing every single muscle that you have, like an X-ray,” said Hernandez, 40, of Allentown. Hernandez has been a professional massage therapist since early December, when he began working at Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa in Center Valley. He got the job after completing Northampton Community College’s massage therapy program last summer. He was the first blind student to graduate from the program — a distinction that wasn’t without its difficulties. “That was kind of frustrating at first because the program was designed for people to see,” Hernandez said. This story comes to us from: The Morning Call.


West Lothian women with sight loss calling for free rail travel for blind people

A West Lothian woman with sight loss is calling on the Scottish Parliament to back free rail travel for blind and partially sighted. This story comes to us from: Daily Record.

Discrimination and Inaccessibility

Mark Millican: They did it anyway

What Haüy (pronounced haw-WEE) did not expect to see was blind people featured in a comedy routine where they were cruelly ridiculed. This story comes to us from: Daily Citizen.


Deodorant bomb stunt: Schoolboy left permanently blind in one eye as mother warns parents of 'craze' On social media

A schoolboy has been left permanently blind in one eye after copying a "craze" by bursting a deodorant can with a sharp object. This story comes to us from: Sky News.

Partially blind elderly woman killed after being struck by train at Heathfield station

A woman was killed after being struck by a train on Saturday morning at Heathfield station in Cape Town. There was a light police presence at the station and police have cordoned off the vicinity. According to Pastor Charles White of the Eternal Flame church, who was on the scene, the incident happened at 7.15am. The victim was fondly known by the community as Edith "She was rushing to Newlands to sell her feather dusters and brooms when she was hit by a train. She supported her family with the proceeds,” said the pastor, adding that she was partially blind and alleged that the state hospital kept postponing her operation. This story comes to us from: IOL.


Blind, homeless man suffering in wet Halifax weather while he waits for housing

He heard a loud crack in the darkness of early Sunday morning. Then Daniel Hovey heard the water pouring into his tent. Hovey could feel his mattress getting wet and then he reached for his belongings. “They were soaking wet, too,” said Hovey. This story comes to us from: SaltWire.

Rising blindness, poverty and care of the eye

In a situation whereby 700 ophthalmologists are saddled with responsibility to care for the eyes of more than 200 million Nigerians, it is hardly surprising that over 4.25 million adults in Nigeria, aged 40 and above, suffer from moderate to severe visual impairment or blindness. At present, available evidence suggest that over 2.2 billion people are visually impaired; and ophthalmologists have warned that the number of people with vision loss is expected to rise from 1.1 billion in 2022 to 1.7 billion by 2050, adding that ageing populations and increased prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), such as diabetes, could exacerbate eye health issues in years to come. In a country battling with severe shortfall in primary health care, this scenario is worrisome and potentially devastating. This story comes to us from: The Guardian Nigeria.


Wife assaulted blind husband over Grizzlies game

A 60-year-old woman is accused by police of assaulting her 75-year-old, legally blind husband at a home in Orange Mound because she wanted to go to a basketball game. According to police, on Nov. 25 last year, Diane Williams informed her husband she was going to a Memphis Grizzlies game. He asked her to stay home with him, and that’s when she allegedly became angry and said she was going anyway. The man told police his wife began throwing punches at him, and then slung him to the ground by his collar. When he asked her for help getting up, he said she refused, then pulled him back to the ground and took his cell phone so he could not call for help. This story comes to us from:

Guide Dogs

Blind Irish Paralympian refused entry to restaurant with guide dog

Mr Gordon said he is not a person who courts controversy and he wants to go about his business, but at some stage he has to say “no more” This story comes to us from: The Irish Times.


Right to Sight: Rajasthan becomes first state to adopt blindness control policy

Under the policy, the Rajasthan government will mandatorily run Keratoplasty Centres and Eye Banks at all the government medical colleges. This story comes to us from: Medical Dialogues.

Blind Woman Joins The Campaign Train To Receive Peter Obi In Jos

I’m so moved to tears right now . This is uncommon love and strong believe that The able leadership of his Excellency Mr Peter Obi if becomes President, will bring prosperity for all.
This blind woman made sure to be at Peter Obi campaign rally in Plateau today. This story comes to us from: Gistmaster.


NY's 1st Legal Pot Shop Sued Over Website Accessibility

A legally blind woman on Tuesday sued the first regulated cannabis dispensary in New York in federal court, saying its website violates the Americans with Disabilities Act because it is not accessible. This story comes to us from: Law360.

Settlement in the works between legally blind man and Nevada bag retailer, over ADA claims

As its designated plaintiff, a local man considered legally blind will oversee a class action lawsuit against a Nevada-based retailer of bags and other merchandise, alleging its website does not support Screen Reader software for the visually-impaired and thus violates the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Anthony Hammond Murphy of Erie first filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania on Feb. 16 versus LeSportsac, Inc., of Nevada. This story comes to us from: Pennsylvania Record.


Talented Nigerian girl with total blindness braids people's hair, ties gele, video goes viral

A Nigerian girl who is blind but has the ability to braid hair has gone viral. The girl named Victoria was seen performing the incredible feat in a video posted on Twitter by Michael Thompson. This story comes to us from:

Art and Artists

Brooklyn-born man who is deaf and blind communicates through sculpture

A man who is deaf and blind is learning to communicate in a whole new way. He's creating expressive sculptures thanks to training at the Helen Keller National Center on Long Island. This story comes to us from: YouTube.

'Elsa' gets behind the pen and sword of deafblind fencer and author

In Cameron S. Mitchell’s documentary short “Elsa,” his deaf and blind subject, Elsa Sjunneson, says she’s “loud, snarky, sarcastic and talks a lot." But that only scratches the tip of her iceberg because Sjunneson, as Mitchell shows in his eight-minute short film that will serve as Slamdance Film Festival’s Opening Night Premiere at 7 p.m. This story comes to us from: Park Record.

Legally blind artist creates portrait of Bills star Von Miller

Art can take many forms — providing its creator an avenue for expression. For Zach Waldraff, drawing is therapeutic. "It kind of just relaxes me," he said. "It makes me happy." Zach has been an artist for as long as he can remember. "Me and my mom used to draw all the time," he said. "And I’m kind of competitive, so I always try to draw better than her." A 2022 graduate of West Seneca West high school, he’s won awards and recognition for his work. His ability is remarkable when you consider Zach is legally blind. He has a condition called aniridia, along with nystagmus. This story comes to us from: Spectrum News.

Johann König, Berlin's "Blind Gallerist," #MeToo, and the Bizarre Plot Against Him

The accusations came from 10 women and centered primarily on König's behavior at, and around, various art-world parties in 2017. This story comes to us from: – Air Mail.

Sports and Athletes

How World Cup winner Lionel Messi plans to help blind Ethiopians

World Cup winner Lionel Messi took to social media to announce he’s going to partner with assistive devices company OrCam to donate visual aids to visually impaired Ethiopians. This story comes to us from: Face2Face Africa.

'My eyes are my ears': How this goalie stops the puck in a hockey series for the legally blind

Most goalies struggle to see the puck as it's fired at them through a maze of sticks, skates and battling bodies, but Joey Cabral can't see the puck at all. To stop it, he's got to hear it. "For sighted people, it's their eyes. For me, with zero vision, my eyes are my ears … It's all about sound." Cabral, of Toronto, is playing goal in a new hockey series where all the players are legally blind. The Carnegie Cup Elite Blind Hockey Series began in Toronto on Friday and runs through the weekend at the Mattamy Centre, formerly the site of Maple Leaf Gardens. This story comes to us from: CBC.

Disabled flag football league forming in Tallahassee

A legally blind man is working to get a flag football league started that accommodates people with disabilities. This story comes to us from: YouTube.


A young swimmer who went legally blind just a few years ago is turning the experience into an inspiring, life-affirming opportunity… taking her passion for the pool further than ever. This story comes to us from: WFMZ.

Legally blind swimmer has a vision to compete in the 2024 Paralympics

Editor: This story is told in a video.

This story comes to us from: –

Visually impaired Pilates instructor defies the fitness norm

Ann Ramos has been teaching fitness for 25 years, despite having a visual disability. She teaches Pilates through thorough cues. This story comes to us from: 9News.

French association allows blind people to drive racing cars

The association offers lessons with driving instructors and professional drivers to people with visual impairment. This story comes to us from: The Connexion.

Sport Ambassador Program – U.S. Association of Blind Athletes

The USABA Sport Ambassador Program is made up of Paralympians, National Team members, sighted guides, coaches and youth sport influencers from the USABA community. All ambassadors are representatives and incredible role models who help inspire future generations to achieve excellence through sport. This story comes to us from: U.S. Association of Blind Athletes.

[U.S. Association Of Blind Athletes Names Director Sports Performance][

The U.S. Association of Blind Athletes hired Amanda Duke Boulet as director of sport performance, a new position within the organization. This story comes to us from: SGB Media Online.

girl enjoys Iraq win in Gulf Cup

This blind girl was among thousands of fans supporting the host nation at the Gulf Cup in Iraq, as they enjoyed a 1-0 victory over Qatar. This story comes to us from: YouTube.


[Woman gets eyeball tattooed despite warnings of possible blindness][

Editor: It seems that we get a couple of stories per month about someone getting their eyes inked. Most of the stories result in the person going blind and our weekly Science Briefs is filled with stories about potential cures for blindness. I've three tattoos but they're all on my arms, even blind, I wouldn't risk damaging my eyes as what if someone does come up with a cure in my lifetime?

One woman has gone too far, according to her followers, as she revealed she had had her eyeball tattooed. Rising social media star Kiki Mary has plenty of other tattoos and piercings but many followers raised concerns about this procedure. The model from São Paulo, Brazil, got the whites of her eye tattooed pitch black but fans raised concerns that she could go blind. This story comes to us from: The Mirror.

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